Wednesday, December 24, 2008

With the holidays here, many of us are enjoying the season, anticipating the beginning of something new! Let's start 2009 off with a bang! Pledge with me to recycle as much as you can this year, AND try to use as many recycled products as you can. I've been using Marcal paper products for quite some time and I have to admit, I feel really good about supporting a company that cares about the environment. Their recycling efforts save enormous quantities of Earth's resources every day, including 6,000 trees, 2 million gallons of water, 140,000 gallons of oil, 30,000 cubic feet of landfill space, and 22,000 pounds of pollution. HMM? You never realize just how powerful your buying power is!

It's nice to know that the baby steps we take every day, really DO add up to big environmental changes--for the better.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Pass on the Condiments

It's no surprise that ketchup is found in 97 out of every 100 American homes… and each of us eats about three bottles a year. Four tablespoons of ketchup have the nutritional value of a whole ripe, medium tomato. That's the good news!

The not so good news: most popular brands of ketchup contain unwanted chemical additives. The same holds true for many mustard and relish brands.

Because of this, I'm encouraging everyone to READ LABELS!!

Many people unwittingly choose these condiments, not realizing the hidden dangers "in the bottle". Rather than canning the condiments, make an educated effort to choose the brands that are chemical-free. It will get you one step closer to preventing chronic disease.

According to,

The Good News: Condiments can be nutritional powerhouses. Ketchup is loaded with cancer-fighting lycopene; mustard seeds contain plentiful amounts of healing phytonutrients; and relish is a probiotic that improves your immune system by restoring beneficial bacteria!

The Bad News: Most brand name condiments contain junk ingredients – these harmful additives often outweigh or negate the health benefits!

Here are some of the not-so-healthy imposters:

Seeing is believing, so take a look at these well-known varieties.
NOTE: I’ve bolded the chemical additives so that you can easily spot them.

Hunt's Ketchup
(Serving size 1 tbsp, 15 calories, 180mg sodium, 0g sugar)

Ingredients: Tomato Concentrate Made from Vine Ripened Tomatoes, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Distilled Vinegar, Corn Syrup, Salt, Onion Powder, Natural Flavors, Garlic Powder.

Grey Poupon Mustard Savory Honey
(Serving Size 1 tsp, 10 calories, 5mg sodium, 0g sugar)

Ingredients: Mustard Seed, Water, Apple Cider Vinegar, Vinegar, Brown Sugar, Honey, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Salt, Fruit Pectin, Citric Acid, Spice, Sugar, Turmeric, Caramel Color, Paprika.

Vlasic Relish Sweet
(serving size 1 tbsp, 15 calories, 140mg sodium, 4g sugar)

Ingredients: Cucumbers, Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Distilled Vinegar, Corn Syrup, Salt, Calcium Chloride, Spice, Xanthan Gum, Dehydrated Peppers, Alum, Natural Flavors, Polysorbate 80 And Yellow 5.

The Big Three condiments are founded on all-natural ingredients like tomatoes, mustard seeds and pickles. When you see all kinds of chemical additives you can be certain these varieties have been highly processed. This means most of the nutrition has been replaced by cheap chemical taste-a-likes needed to boost flavor.

Bypass the regular condiment aisle and go directly to the “healthy food” section of your local grocery store. This is where most of the healthy brands hang out. (Note: Mustard is the exception. You’ll find the healthy brands in both the regular and healthy food sections.)

Look for the all-natural organic varieties. They may cost a few more pennies but the health benefits make them priceless. Our kids are the major consumers of ketchup, mustard and relish; buying the healthier brands curbs their intake of food additives!
Avoid label claims like “reduced sugar,” “low sugar,” or “low carb!” These are often code words for added artificial sweeteners.
Always avoid the junk ingredients high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, yellow dye #5, polysorbate 80, and sucralose.

Here are a few brands that are free and clear of unwanted ingredients:

Annie's Naturals Ketchup, Organic
Countrys Delight Tomato Ketchup
Woodstock Farms Organics Tomato Ketchup
Muir Glen Organic Ketchup
Full Circle 100% Organic Tomato Ketchup

Maille Mustard Dijon Original
Grey Poupon Mustard Country Dijon
Grey Poupon Mustard Harvest Ground
Gulden's Mustard Spicy Brown
Boar's Head Delicatessen Style Mustard
Boar's Head Honey Mustard All Natural Squeeze
Full Circle Organic Spicy Brown Mustard
Full Circle Organic Yellow Mustard
Woodstock Farms Organics Mustard Yellow
Mustard Girl Mustard Stoneground Deli All Natural
Mustard Girl Mustard Sweet n' Fancy Yellow All Natural

Cascadian Farms Sweet Relish
Full Circle Organic Sweet Relish
Bubbie's of San Francisco Pure Kosher Dill Pickle Relish
(available online at

REMEMBER when you're armed with knowledge, you're in control at the grocery store!

*Thanks to for the helpful information!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Top 10 Anti Oxidant Rich Foods

Good News Moms! Keeping kids healthy is just a few bites away.
Researchers at the University of Oslo in Norway recently examined 1,113 foods to determine which ones contained the highest concentration of antioxidants.
Antioxidants are substances that may protect cells from the damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals; free radical damage may lead to certain diseases. Antioxidants interact with and stabilize free radicals and may prevent some of the damage free radicals otherwise might cause.
So, just add some tasty berries or bell pepper to your child’s plate and you offer a delicious snack AND an added health benefit.
Make sure your grocery cart has one or more of these super foods in tow:
1. Blackberries
2. Artichoke Hearts (boiled)
3. Red Cabbage (cooked)
4. Cranberries
5. Strawberries
6. Red Bell Peppers (cooked)
7. Water-packed Canned Sour Cherries
8. Raspberries
9. Frozen Spinach
10. Blueberries

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Healthy Tropical Alternative

When you think of coconuts the image of palm-lined beaches and clear blue water surely comes to mind, but did you know coconuts also may help protect your heart? Because coconuts contain more saturated fat than butter, at one time many health experts believed that consuming this sweet treat would result in clogged arteries and heart disease. However, studies show that the benefits of coconuts outweigh the possible risks, which should please those with tropical fever. In a study published in Clinical Biochemistry, 2004 1, researchers looked at coconut oil as a component of diet in laboratory animals (Sprague-Dawley rats). In this study, virgin coconut oil, which was obtained by wet process, had a beneficial effect in lowering total cholesterol, triglycerides, phospholipids and low-density lipoproteins (LDL).

Even though coconuts do have a high saturated fat count, more than 50% of that is lauric acid. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that although lauric acid raises LDL ("bad") cholesterol, it raises HDL ("good") cholesterol even more. The other 50% of the saturated fat content is made up of fatty acids that have little or no effect on cholesterol. Lowering your cholesterol levels is one of the easiest ways to reduce your risk of heart disease, so it looks like coconuts are back on the menu!

This tasty tropical treat is still high in calories, so don’t overdo it. Instead, buy a bag of shredded coconut and have just a handful as a mid-morning snack or mixed into your trail mix. Try to avoid a sudden spike in your blood sugar by making sure you consume bagged coconut that is free of added sweeteners. If you’d like to try cooking with coconut milk, try a delicious grilled coconut shrimp or coconut-crusted chicken on a balmy summer evening for a change of pace. If you’re really in the coconut tropical mood, go ahead and plant a palm tree, buy a set of tiki torches, have a Caribbean cookout, because you’ll be jam’in to a healthier you!

Friday, February 29, 2008

polycarbonate bottles, water

This may be worse than we thought
Reusable plastic bottles leach BPA at room temperature

A lot of people have those reusable polycarbonate water bottles; you can’t go to a college campus these days without seeing students carrying these multi-hued bottles around as they make their way through classes.

Well, a couple weeks back researchers at the University of Cincinnati released a startling new study showing that many of these bottles leach bisphenol A (BPA), an endocrine disruptor, into water that is being stored within the container.

These researchers found that these plastic bottles leach BPA into room-temperature water. That’s bad enough, but if boiling water is put into these bottles, the rate of BPA leaching goes up by quite a bit.

All the evidence out there tells us that this stuff is not good for you; Environmental Working G roup tested canned foods recently, which are lined with the same BPA plastic as these water bottles are made from. As it turns out, foods from metal cans contain significantly more of the chemical than water from bottles.

I applaud the use of reusable water bottles to cut down on the environmental impact of bottled water, but with this new research, stainless steel and metal water bottles are looking better and better. Some have a plastic lining, but Klean Kanteen and Sigg makes metal water bottles that are BPA free.

Parents who are concerned about baby’s plastic bottles should know that although this study didn’t look at baby bottles, it studied the same type of plastic. At this point, there’s enough research out there to justify the added expense of buying BPA-free or glass bottles. But an even more critical step would be to substitute powdered formula for liquid formula if your baby isn’t drinking breast milk. Babies don’t need to be getting extra endocrine disruptors in any form.

Back to the drinking fountain, I guess!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Cows Have It!

This week's post comes from the Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine:

There has never been a better time to go vegetarian. Mounting evidence suggests that meat-based diets are not only unhealthy, but that just about every aspect of meat production—from grazing-related loss of cropland, to the inefficiencies of feeding vast quantities of water and grain to cattle, to pollution from “factory farms”—is an environmental disaster with wide and sometimes catastrophic consequences.

There are 20 billion head of livestock on Earth, more than triple the number of people. According to the Worldwatch Institute, global livestock population has increased 60 percent since 1961, and the number of fowl being raised for food has nearly quadrupled in the same time period, from 4.2 billion to 15.7 billion.

The 4.8 pounds of grain fed to cattle to make one pound of beef represents a colossal waste of resources in a world teeming with hungry and malnourished people. According to Vegfam, a 10-acre farm can support 60 people growing soy, 24 people growing wheat, 10 people growing corn—but only two raising cattle.

Food First’s Frances Moore LappĂ© says to imagine sitting down to an eight-ounce steak. “Then imagine the room filled with 45 to 50 people with empty bowls... For the feed cost of your steak, each of their bowls could be filled with a full cup of cooked cereal grains.” Harvard nutritionist Jean Mayer says that reducing U.S. meat production 10 percent would free grain to feed 60 million people.

U.S. animal farms generate billion of tons of animal waste every year, which the Environmental Protection Agency says pollute our waterways more than all other industrial sources combined. The infamous 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill dumped 11 million gallons of oil into Prudoe Bay, but the relatively unknown 1995 New River hog waste spill in North Carolina poured 25 million gallons of excrement into the water, killing 14 million fish and closing 364,000 acres of shell fishing beds. Hog waste spills have caused the rapid spread of Pfiesteria piscicida, which has killed a billion fish in North Carolina alone.

Other than polluting water, beef production alone uses more water than is used in growing our entire fruit and vegetable crop. And over a third of all raw materials and fossil fuels consumed in the U.S. are used in animal production. Meat also increases our carbon footprints. According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, livestock around the world contribute more greenhouse gases (mostly methane) to the atmosphere—18 percent of our total output—than emissions from all the world’s cars and trucks.

“There is no question that the choice to become a vegetarian or lower meat consumption is one of the most positive lifestyle changes a person could make in terms of reducing one’s personal impact on the environment,” says Christopher Flavin of the Worldwatch Institute. “The resource requirements and environmental degradation associated with a meat-based diet are very substantial.”

CONTACTS: Food First,; UN Food and Agriculture Organization,; Worldwatch Institute,

GOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTION? Send it to: EarthTalk, c/o E/The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; submit it at:, or e-mail: Read past columns at:

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Recycle those cell phones!

Please take the time to recycle your oldcell phone!
There are over 130 million cell  phones that are currently in our US waste system and 3.25 BILLION cell phone users continuing to dispose of their old cell phones.
There are recycling options that you can use. 
  • Check out where you can  turn your old cell phone into cash!
  • specializes in Sprint and Nextel phones but will buy back other manufacturers’ devices as well.
  • returns money for cell phones, ranging up to about $100 for late-model devices.
  • CollectiveGood collects phones and donates the proceeds to groups like the Humane Society of the Unite States, CARE, The Center for Domestic Violence Prevention and, not incidentally, Congo Global Action.
  • is the fundraising arm of U.K.-based Corporate Mobile Recycling Ltd., and it will set your school or other program up with cell-phone-donation programs that raise an average of 250 pounds (about $490). You can also donate funds raised to charities like the Spanish Red Cross or Oxfam International.
  • helps organize NGO (nongovernmental organization) and school fundraising via cell-phone recycling and also directs funds from donated cell phones to charity partners.
  • exchanges donated cell phones and ink-jet and toner cartridges for rewards points convertible to cash or new imaging supplies.
  • helps organize old-cell-phone drives and pays your group for the phones (and other gadgets) it collects, then refurbishes or recycles them.
  • Inc. buys old phones and phone chargers to refurbish and resell.
  • recycles cell phones, PDAs and pagers and conducts education on behalf of mineral-development watchdog Earthworks.
  • Recyclingfo donates proceeds from cell phones, PDAs, Palm devices, digital cameras and iPods to the charity of your choice.
You make the call!

Beth :)